Music Park: Tar Queen @ Montreux Music Festival — 7/5/16

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Tar Queen lay down some psych vibes at the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 5, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Self-proclaimed stoner rock band Tar Queen opened a free show at the Montreux Jazz Festival’s Rock Cave last week with the rolling psychedelic number “Roger Mojo.”

The song is a new single in 2016 from the quartet, hailing from Freiburg, Switzerland, and it marks an exciting evolution in the band’s sound since the release of their last album — 2013’s Continuum. I didn’t know any of this before walking into the Montreux Jazz Festival of course, but it was a terrific experience to pick up on new discoveries like Tar Queen at the renowned festival, particularly Swiss bands like these gents that deserve a wider audience.

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Music Park: VinoFest Wine and Music Festival 2016 @ Yards Park — 5/7/16

Vinofest 21 Jon Batiste leads Stay Human in a march across Yards Park during VinoFest on Saturday, May 7, 2016.

Jon Batiste saw an opportunity, and he took it.

The natural-born band leader leapt from the stage and onto the field at VinoFest 2016, after he and his band Stay Human performed a full set of originals and classics. And they began to jam out in a spot first at stage right, but then they took advantage of the layout of the space around them.

Winding around the stage and between pavilions serving wine tastings, Jon Batiste and Stay Human led a merry parade across the field and back again, playing music all along.

For those who know Jon and Stay Human, this comes as no surprise as the band are famous for their “love riots” where they take their show to the streets or even the subways. All the same, the audience at VinoFest were delighted and enthusiastic at the prospect of interacting with Jon as he played his famous melodica and the band kept pace, playing right alongside him, in a little whirlwind of zippy musical activity.

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Don’t Miss: The Dandy Warhols @ 9:30 Club, 4/17/16

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The Dandy Warhols (Photo courtesy Dine Alone Records)

The Dandy Warhols have returned with their ninth studio album, released only last week, and they hit the 9:30 Club to promote it on Sunday, April 17.

With Distortland, published April 8 via Dine Alone Records, The Dandys continue their penchant for an outsider perspective set to groovy psychedelic jams. The well-regarded Portland-based quartet received generally favorable reviews with the new 10-track album, according to Metacritic.

Watch the recently released official music video for “You Are Killing Me” by The Dandy Warhols, which features cult actor Joe Dallesandro as a writer that undergoes a bad psychedelic trip:

And of course, as consummate performers, The Dandys themselves are always ready to put on a show with vocalist and guitarist Courtney Taylor, keyboardist Zia McCabe, guitarist Peter Holmström, and drummer Brent DeBoer. The band initially recorded Distortland in Courtney’s basement on and old-school cassette recorder before enlisting Jim Lowe, who’s worked with Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, to mix it. It should be fascinating to see these new songs live!

When I last saw The Dandys at the 9:30 Club in 2012, I observed: “Although the band worked together remarkably well as a band, Courtney Taylor carried the show with a jovial swagger. At times, he would evoke the grunge scene that he quickly grew beyond and mumble through some muddled lyrics and at others he would belt out his words clearly like he was channeling Iggy Pop.”

Louisiana garage gospel quartet Seratones open for The Dandy Warhols. Tickets are available online! You also can purchase a VIP Nation upgrade, Dandys Hang Out Experience Upgrade (for $75), which requires that you already have a regular ticket but which allows you to hang out with the band.

The Dandy Warhols
w/ Seratones
9:30 Club
Sunday, April 17
Doors @7pm
Regular: $25
VIP: +$75
All ages

Music Park: Nap Eyes @ DC9 — 3/11/16

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Nap Eyes (Photo by Colin Medley)

It was a concert on a Friday night, and some pretty girls and guys were there.

And they were there to see Halifax quartet Nap Eyes, who along with Irish guitarist Cian Nugent on a double bill, charmed with some occasionally folky/occasionally psychedelic guitars.

Apologies to Nap Eyes for borrowing the opening line from their song “Mixer,” from their new album Thought Rock Fish Scale, there — but it was true that they drew a fair crowd at DC9 on Friday night on their tour to support the new release, published in the United States on Feb. 5.

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Don’t Miss: Time Is Fire @ DC9, 1/28/16 @ Comet Ping Pong, 3/5/16

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Time Is Fire perform at The Howard Theatre on April 20, 2015. (Photo by Kay Said/Courtesy Time Is Fire)

Back in July, I went to the Black Cat to check out the noir cinema pop of Brooklyn band KATIEE. However, like everyone else there, I was rather stunned by the opening act, DC psych quartet Time Is Fire.

The four men in Time Is Fire cite DC punk as an influence on their band, and occasionally they marry some post-punk guitar structures to their upbeat musical style. However, when they really get rolling, they become a full-blown psychedelic jam ready to enthusiastically throw down as a wandering dance party all by themselves.

Sometimes frontman Kamyar Arsani sings in English and sometimes Farsi, and the instruments in the band tend to move with him from more traditional rock to hazy Middle Eastern rhythms. It’s totally appropriate given that Kamyar is a daf player and Sufi poet who grew up in Tehran, where he absorbed both Western and Persian music. He is joined by drummer Jim Thomson (CSC Funk Band, Bio Ritmo, GWAR, Alter Natives), guitarist Matt Perrone (Alma Tropicalia), and bassist Ashish Vyas (Thievery Corporation, GoGoGo Airheart).

In November 2015, Time Is Fire released their self-titled debut EP, produced by Fugazi’s Brendan Canty, via Electric Cowbell. You can listen to the EP, and buy it, on Bandcamp:

Time Is Fire really come alive in concert. When they play, they are fully in their own world, weaving a sort of hypnotic field, but they also enjoying themselves so fully that it’s downright infectious.

Watch the official music video for “Fetneh,” which really manages to capture the energy of Time Is Fire in performance:

The band have announced two shows in the coming months. They open for Social Station at DC9 on Thursday Jan. 28, and then they appear with Prince Rama and SISTR MD9IGHT in a lineup at Comet Ping Pong on Saturday, March 5. Tix for the DC9 show are available at the door; tix for the Comet Ping Pong show are available online.

It’s well worth your time to check them out!

Time Is Fire
Opening for Social Station
DC9
Thursday, Jan. 28
Doors @8pm
$8
All ages

Time Is Fire
w/ Prince Rama and SISTR MD9IGHT
Saturday, March 5
Doors @10pm
$12
All ages

Music Park: Foals @ Lincoln Theatre — 12/16/15

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Yannis Philippakis of the Foals performs at La Route Du Rock in France on Aug. 16, 2015. (Photo by Alter1fo)

“This song is about what happens when Trump gets into office,” said the very Greek Yannis Philippakis, frontman of the UK band Foals, when introducing a new song, “A Knife in the Ocean.”

The shimmery psychedelic song is both a departure and an affirmation of previous songs by the Foals in that it is more slowly paced but still built upon remarkable guitarwork. The song, from the band’s fourth studio album What Went Down, is about losing things to time as if they were washed away by the sea. Apparently, Yannis believes we will lose many things of value if Donald Trump becomes US president.

Politics aside, Yannis and his three bandmates played a sold-out show at the Lincoln Theatre on Wednesday, Dec. 16, enrapturing an enthusiastic audience with new material like “Knife” that stacked up well with the Foals’ more familiar songs.

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Music Park: Gun Outfit @ Café Saint-Ex — 12/7/15

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Gun Outfit at the Northside Fest Pitchfork Showcase (Photo by Samantha Marble)

Dylan Sharp sings with a kind of twang that takes you down empty, open roads.

His band Gun Outfit, which he formed with fellow vocalist and guitarist Carrie Keith, covers some distinct territory as its music rolls down those roads. Gun Outfit play folk music to be sure — but the band’s fourth full-length album, Dream All Over, released in October via Paradise of Bachelors, wanders into the unhurried haziness of psychedelia with an air of Americana.

When Dylan sings on “Matters to a Head,” one of the more rollicking and best tracks on the new album, he sings as a bit of a rambler who has witnessed it all. The song’s bright and lively guitar backs up the concept of a man on the move as he assesses expectations and confrontations.

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